The Committee for Security at Palazzo Caprara have decided to push ahead with an experiment to combat the continuous problem of drug pushers lurking around the park. The Municipality reached an agreement with the Police Headquarters and Prefecture.
Access points to be closed for security reasons are that of Via del Pallone – the crossroads of Via Irnerio behind the Sferisterio – and one of the two main entrances to the park on Via Irnerio. It’s also believed that the intersection with Via Indipendenza will also be closed.
Councillor for Security, Alberto Aitini, specified that they remain committed to keeping access points open at least on all sides, which includes eight in total while strengthening police presence on the remaining entry points.
Access from the Pincio scenic staircase via the station and from Piazza XX Settembre, will survive the anti-drug crackdown. The Municipality has also announced that it will modify the opening/closing times to the park: from the 1st of October the park will open at 0700 and close by 2100.
During opening hours, the park will be constantly manned by the army and assisted from time to time by police and carabinieri. The strictly operational strategy is still under definition, but it is some details. Surely, agents and carabinieri will drive by car inside the Montagnola. It remains to be clarified whether law enforcement officers will also be present at the army post.
The patrols will be further enhanced with inter-force blitz three times a week with the aim of stop and search controls. On one afternoon alone the police stopped 21 people (including 18 foreigners) while sniffer dogs led to the recovery and seizure of 16.89 grams of marijuana. Another 10 grams of grass was discovered, hidden among bushes and waste bins, by crime prevention agents.
Police commissioner Franco Bernabei commented: “We are cautiously optimistic about the effectiveness of this method.” Regarding accessibility to the park, he confirmed that on the one hand, “It would be useful to reduce the number of entries: the Municipality will identify the most reconcilable ones, but without affecting the usability of the park.”
On the other, he continued, “We are trying to identify until what time citizens use the park. If at a certain point is no longer used, it is useless to leave it available to those who abuse it.”
The controls in Montagnola will be active “during the opening of the park,” explains the commissioner, “so there will be daily services, with mixed employment between the Army, the Police and the Carabinieri.” Every day, “two mixed crews will be employed for each shift, with accompanying Army vehicles, composed of military and policemen or military and carabinieri, morning and afternoon, with 8-10 men per shift.”